She Says Good Morning. I Say Chai!














6am.  The oven timer goes off, and I know it's time to wake up.  (You see, my alarm clock broke in November, and I haven't found reason to buy a new one yet.)  My eyelids resist, my mind clings to dreamy fragments, but my nose leads the way to consciousnes.  Wake up silly, don't you smell the cinnamon and cardamom?  I shuffle to the kitchen and peer through the steam to see my roommate serenely stirring a boiling pot of tea.  Nikita is making chai.  It's going to be a good morning.
Chai is simply the Indian phrase for "tea."  Now that I'm awake, let me share Nikita's Indian morning brew.
Hello Beautiful.  A Cup of Chai?
On the stove top, heat up 2 cups of water with:
1 black tea bag (Or use loose leaf tea if you're up for a little extra clean-up.)
2 green cardamom pods (or 1/2 tsp cardamom powder)
1/4 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder)
1/2 Tbsp sugar (add more or less to taste)
Optional-fresh/powdered ginger, and whole cloves.
 
Green cardamom.  Crack the shells to release the pungent black seeds inside.  But throw in the green shells for good measure!
Nikita's whole cinnamon is slightly different.  Cinnamon bark?
Bring the water and spices to a boil.  For strong tea, reduce heat after the first boil and then ramp it up again for a second boil.  This steeps the water in the spices for an extra kick.
After boiling, stir in 1/2 cup skim milk or 1/4 cup 2% or whole milk.
Let the tea boil once more with the milk.
Strain out the tea bag and spices.
Tip her over, and pour her out!
This recipe makes 2 cups!
So friends, I say "Good morning!" and you say____?
In other words, what's your favorite morning sip?
India's Morning Sips
Wake up in India, and the first order of business is a cup of chai.  This morning ritual precedes the teeth brushing, the showering, and the newspaper reading.  Referred to as "bed tea," Nikita speculates that this practice stems from the British influence.
Does your morning commute take a daily detour at Starbucks?  Surprisingly, Nikita told me there are currently no Starbucks in India.  The American grab-and-go coffee culture is relatively foreign to India, where the traditional concept of coffee is still associated with leisurely conversations at a cafe.  However Nikita thinks that the caffeine rush has started, since large chain coffeeshops have begun to pop up.  In particular, Barista and Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) are the Indian counterparts to the American Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.  But for the present, India is still a tea-driven society.  Though lacking in cappuccino drive-throughs, plenty of tea carts litter the streets on any given morning.  I find this fascinating!
Have a good Monday,
Rachel

6 comments:

swankyrd said...

Gosh, americans need to learn to relax. Sometimes I wish I lived somewhere else where we actually learned to enjoy our coffee, take siestas, and ENJOY life!
Thanks for sharing a bit of India's culture.

Meredith (Pursuing Balance) said...

Mmm I love chai! I much prefer chatting over coffee than drinking it on the run . . . but these days it seems to be more of the latter.

Gina said...

Oh how I wish I could say tea, or chai tea, was my favorite thing to drink in the morning, but I can't! It's coffee, black coffee. I'm drinking some right now :) I just love it! Nick, my bf, LOVES chai tea, but he had no idea what chai tea really tasted like until I bought him some from the store. He had considered chai tea to only taste like the iced chai tea lattes he bought at Starbuck's. HA! Not quite. He still really likes it though, even without all that sugar and crap in it!

ktbwood said...

Hey girl!! i needed to get caugh up on your blog too!! :) i LOVE chai tea lattes from starbucks!! but other than that, i dont like tea! im a coffee girl :)

Lesley said...

Thank you for sharing! I find the Indian culture fascinating and am glad to hear about the reluctance to adopt Americans/globalized ways. Your description of chai tea reminds of of Naan N' Curry in SF--there is always a big carafe of creamy, spicy complementary chai in the back. I miss it!

Margot said...

Oh, I would not have time for all that in the morning while preparing lunchboxes but I love chai and now thanks to your recipe I can stop buying ready one :)

Have a nice day!

Margot

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Disclaimer. I am not a Registered Dietitian yet. I provide nutrition information intended for the general public, not for the treatment of a specific medical condition. I try to use scientific research and reliable sources when forming my opinions and messages.
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